STATE COLLEGE, PA (WPSU) – By time Jeanne Nearhoof, of Lycoming County, and her mother went to a naloxone distribution site Thursday, there wasn’t any left.
That site in Williamsport had run out of the drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. But, Nearhoof did leave with information about how to get it.
“It affects everyone,” she said of opioid addiction. “It’s not just poor people or bad people. It’s everybody and anybody.”
That includes her family.
“It’s hell. It truly is hell,” Nearhoof said. “It is definitely the devil’s drug.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health had 5,100 naloxone kits to give out for free Thursday. Department of Health press secretary Nate Wardle said more than half of the distribution sites had run out by mid-afternoon.
“So, if it ends up being as successful as it sounds like it has been in several parts of the state, it is something we are considering how we can work further in the upcoming months to get naloxone into the hands of people who need it,” Wardle said.
Narcan is a brand name of naloxone. The kits came with two doses of the nasal spray and instructions.
People who picked up a kit didn’t have to give their names or other information. They watched a short informational video and were given a chance to ask questions.
Cristy Schmidt, of Houserville, got a kit in Centre County. No one in her life is experiencing addiction now, but she has had family and friends who’ve struggled with it over the years.
“Addiction is something that people keep hidden a lot of times,” Schmidt said. “So, I just thought it would be important as a precaution to come in today and utilize this distribution opportunity just in case.”
The kits cost the state $380,000, and were funded through $5 million dollars set aside for naloxone.
Pennsylvanians who didn’t pick up naloxone can still get it at pharmacies with a standing order prescription from the state.